The Mandalorian Chapter 12: “The Siege” Review

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Who believed that Din would manage to get to his goal in one episode? Not with the broken-down limping ship. The episode to pass the time while the Mando was getting his ship fixed was not a filler, however. Not at all. (As always, spoilers ahead.)

Old Friends’ Reunion

“The Siege” saw the return of familiar faces. What better place to fix your ship than on Nevarro where you have friends? (Actually, in the light of subsequent events, maybe any other place, but…) Both Cara Dune (now a Marshal of Nevarro) and Greef Karga were positively radiant upon the reunion. Greef Karga greeted the Mando with a firm handshake – a possible nod to Carl Weathers’s iconic moment from Predator. Then, the adults went to discuss local pressing matters while the Child was dumped in a public school.

The Child was therefore absent for the second half of the episode. However, it made up for it with its performance earlier. The cuteness with which it assisted Din with repairs and later tried to communicate with a schoolkid (before stealing his cookies) must have melted even the grumpiest audience.

However, it deserves to be mentioned that it is not only about cuteness. It seems like the Child is finally “growing up” to do something, it is interacting with the environment, learning things (like repairs), while still clearly lacking morality (and stealing cookies). We can already speak about it having a defined personality as opposed to just being a cute object.

Gripping Action Sequence

The “hard” part of the episode’s plot focussed on getting rid of the last remaining Imperial stronghold on Nevarro. With the help of the Mythrol we have met in Chapter 1 as Din’s first bounty, Din, Cara and Greef infiltrated the fortress. This led them to the discovery of why the base had not been abandoned. Apparently, Moff Gideon had the scientists perform experiments there using the Child’s blood. This confirmed to Djarin both that Gideon lives and that the Child is in danger.

The assault on the base and subsequent escape were full of very well-executed action scenes. The creators sure made the best of having a martial arts specialist in one of the main roles. The variability added a lot to the action: there was close combat, speeder chase, even the use of a turret with the iconic Star Wars “retro” targeting display. In that sense, the action was not simply lots of mindless shooting; and even the shootouts themselves looked more realistic than you would see in an average film or Star Wars media.

The heroes eventually destroyed the Nevarro base. Din could continue on his journey, even though unbeknownst to him, a mechanic in Gideon’s pocket managed to install a tracking beacon on his ship. Meanwhile, Cara got approached by a familiar pilot with an offer to join the New Republic. That was another of the character-building moments in “The Siege”: we were reminded of Cara’s past on Alderaan and that she may have a dilemma – remaining independent or going back to her roots.

Cara’s Stellar Moment

This is perhaps the time to remark on the role of Cara Dune. The events of the last episode have provided her with much potential to develop her story further. She now has the making of a secondary character who is not just a sidekick but has a complex personality and life story.

There is one more thing that makes her important, and that is the combination of her martial prowess and her appearance: unlike the vast majority of female warrior-type characters you’d find on TV, she looks actually strong and not just pretty and petite. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with being pretty and petite, but a real-life fighter would look rather like this than like a “Hollywood beauty”. Therefore, it would be much more logical to have more characters who look like her than less. (To be fair, the same may apply to men as well, but to a lesser degree.) The action scenes in “The Siege” owed much to the fact that when Cara was throwing people around the room, it looked perfectly believable.

I probably cannot avoid mentioning in this context the recent social media controversy surrounding Cara Dune’s actress, Gina Carano. Several of the actress’s recent tweets were seen as spreading fake news about mask-wearing and questioning the results of the US elections. That led a notable number of fans to call upon Disney to remove Carano from the show. As of now all of this has been happening outside official channels. It would, of course, be ideal if everything could be settled peacefully (say, Gina Carano being more mindful of how impactful her voice as a celebrity can be and reserving her opinions on fields she is not an expert on). TV companies should not be placed in front of the dilemma of where to set the line between uncalled-for censorship and indirectly signal-boosting the spread of harmful messages.

Whereas Cara Dune is by no means a necessary character, she has been a good addition to the show and Gina Carano’s performance has been worthy of recognition. Having her also in the future of The Mandalorian would only enrichen the story.

Darkness Hiding In The Outer Rim

A few words about worldbuilding. The series as a whole continues to maintain the atmosphere of the Outer Rim being the wild frontier disconnected from the big bright centre of the Galaxy. “The Siege” only emphasised this aspect. We can see Moff Gideon as being fairly safe conducting his experiments outside the New Republic’s scope. The Core Worlds justice cannot oversee this region without local support, but the locals would prefer to keep to themselves. They may, however, also deal with the problems themselves – through people like The Mandalorian‘s protagonists.

The episode ended on an ominous note and showed us what to expect next. Moff Gideon is having some big sinister plan going on. Something involving lots of black armour suits and blood transfusion from Force-sensitive beings. Is he making himself an army of Force-sensitive “Dark Troopers”? It would be even cooler if he were also infusing himself with the Force, which, combined with the Darksaber already in his possession, would make him into a sort-of-Jedi (Sith). But we shall just have to see what exactly happens.

In any case, there is much to look forward to. One looming threat is that Din, with the homing beacon aboard his ship, is now on his way to see Ahsoka Tano. Moff Gideon and his people will now get the chance to find more than one Force-sensitive (although perhaps they need the Baby specifically). At the same time, we know that Bo-Katan left to deal with Gideon herself. We can expect a big showdown when this all has come together.

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Dorothee Sölle, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.